Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Transplant Date Set

I saw my transplant doctor in St. Louis today. She has been conferring with my infectious disease doctor from St. Louis. After reviewing all the current information, they have decided to admit me on Thursday, March 27th. I will get "conditioning chemotherapy" for 5 days. They will give me some meds to wipe out my current bone marrow and some mild chemotherapy to knock out any remaining leukemia cells. Then I get one day off and then I get the stem cell transplant. If all things go as planned, that will be Wednesday, April 2nd. I still have some tests to do first but at least we have a date now.

I will be having a bone marrow biopsy tomorrow morning. This is to be sure I am still in remission. In the afternoon, I have a MUGA scan. This is a test to be sure my heart still has normal function and I can tolerate the stress of the procedure. Friday I will be having another MRI of the brain to be sure my abscess is improved on the antibiotics I have been taking. I will be getting a chest Xray, some more bloodwork and an EKG to be sure things are still OK. I also will get some pulmonary function tests to be sure my lungs are still OK for this procedure. If these all come out OK, we go ahead with the transplant. They will let me know early next week if everything is still a go.

We also found out today that my donor has had some scheduling difficulties since they moved the transplant back. He is still going to donate, but will be doing so on March 25th. The stem cells will then be frozen and thawed out when I am ready for them. The transplant donation centers frown on this because they do not want the donors going through all this and then the stem cells do not get used for one reason or another. They have agreed to let us donate early this time and freeze the cells, This is not quite as good as getting them fresh but still should be OK. Some people have blood diseases requiring a stem cell transplant where they donate to themselves. In those cases the cells are frozen till the patient is ready to get them. That still works well. Some of the donor cells die during the freezing and thawing but my doctor said that since I have a young healthy donor, there should still be plenty of cells. They have to put a preservative in with the cells and sometimes transplant recipients can have a reaction to that. Usually it is not much but can cause hives, fever, chills, nausea and even shortness of breath. These are all treatable. The preservative is excreted by the lungs and can cause a funny taste in the mouth and the chemicals that are breathed out can actually leave an odor to the room for a couple of days till it is all gone. All in all they say I am better off with frozen cells from a young male donor and a ten point match than to look for a different donor who might not be as young or as good a match.

This means I will be able to be home for Easter and attend services at church on Sunday this week. We had our family Easter dinner last Sunday when Daniel and David were home because they were not sure if they would be back for Easter. They were home for spring break(Even though it wasn't spring yet). We had our good friends, Gene and Marilyn Retzer over too. Daniel will probably be coming home this weekend but David will not be able to come. I will also be able to be home for most of Michael's Easter vacation. He is off Good Friday and all of next week. The delay has let me spend more time with the kids. I am glad God thought of that when he modified the schedule the doctors orginally had planned for me.

My family and I appreciate all the prayers that have been said already for us. We covet your prayers for the coming days and weeks. We also ask that God will have His will in the tests and getting the transplant done and we pray that it will be successful. We also want to thank you again for all the continued cards, it really hummbles us to see how much people really care. In the meantime, we pray that God blesses you as he blesses us!


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